path: root/Documentation/accounting/taskstats.txt
diff options
authorShailabh Nagar <nagar@watson.ibm.com>2006-07-14 00:24:40 -0700
committerLinus Torvalds <torvalds@g5.osdl.org>2006-07-14 21:53:56 -0700
commitc757249af152c59fd74b85e52e8c090acb33d9c0 (patch)
tree78495f661fe537bf5087b24e6577659de8725b5a /Documentation/accounting/taskstats.txt
parentfb0ba6bd021248b6bdc58a7b1213a55a6776a38a (diff)
[PATCH] per-task-delay-accounting: taskstats interface
Create a "taskstats" interface based on generic netlink (NETLINK_GENERIC family), for getting statistics of tasks and thread groups during their lifetime and when they exit. The interface is intended for use by multiple accounting packages though it is being created in the context of delay accounting. This patch creates the interface without populating the fields of the data that is sent to the user in response to a command or upon the exit of a task. Each accounting package interested in using taskstats has to provide an additional patch to add its stats to the common structure. [akpm@osdl.org: cleanups, Kconfig fix] Signed-off-by: Shailabh Nagar <nagar@us.ibm.com> Signed-off-by: Balbir Singh <balbir@in.ibm.com> Cc: Jes Sorensen <jes@sgi.com> Cc: Peter Chubb <peterc@gelato.unsw.edu.au> Cc: Erich Focht <efocht@ess.nec.de> Cc: Levent Serinol <lserinol@gmail.com> Cc: Jay Lan <jlan@engr.sgi.com> Signed-off-by: Andrew Morton <akpm@osdl.org> Signed-off-by: Linus Torvalds <torvalds@osdl.org>
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+Per-task statistics interface
+Taskstats is a netlink-based interface for sending per-task and
+per-process statistics from the kernel to userspace.
+Taskstats was designed for the following benefits:
+- efficiently provide statistics during lifetime of a task and on its exit
+- unified interface for multiple accounting subsystems
+- extensibility for use by future accounting patches
+"pid", "tid" and "task" are used interchangeably and refer to the standard
+Linux task defined by struct task_struct. per-pid stats are the same as
+per-task stats.
+"tgid", "process" and "thread group" are used interchangeably and refer to the
+tasks that share an mm_struct i.e. the traditional Unix process. Despite the
+use of tgid, there is no special treatment for the task that is thread group
+leader - a process is deemed alive as long as it has any task belonging to it.
+To get statistics during task's lifetime, userspace opens a unicast netlink
+socket (NETLINK_GENERIC family) and sends commands specifying a pid or a tgid.
+The response contains statistics for a task (if pid is specified) or the sum of
+statistics for all tasks of the process (if tgid is specified).
+To obtain statistics for tasks which are exiting, userspace opens a multicast
+netlink socket. Each time a task exits, two records are sent by the kernel to
+each listener on the multicast socket. The first the per-pid task's statistics
+and the second is the sum for all tasks of the process to which the task
+belongs (the task does not need to be the thread group leader). The need for
+per-tgid stats to be sent for each exiting task is explained in the per-tgid
+stats section below.
+The user-kernel interface is encapsulated in include/linux/taskstats.h
+To avoid this documentation becoming obsolete as the interface evolves, only
+an outline of the current version is given. taskstats.h always overrides the
+description here.
+struct taskstats is the common accounting structure for both per-pid and
+per-tgid data. It is versioned and can be extended by each accounting subsystem
+that is added to the kernel. The fields and their semantics are defined in the
+taskstats.h file.
+The data exchanged between user and kernel space is a netlink message belonging
+to the NETLINK_GENERIC family and using the netlink attributes interface.
+The messages are in the format
+ +----------+- - -+-------------+-------------------+
+ | nlmsghdr | Pad | genlmsghdr | taskstats payload |
+ +----------+- - -+-------------+-------------------+
+The taskstats payload is one of the following three kinds:
+1. Commands: Sent from user to kernel. The payload is one attribute, of type
+TASKSTATS_CMD_ATTR_PID/TGID, containing a u32 pid or tgid in the attribute
+payload. The pid/tgid denotes the task/process for which userspace wants
+2. Response for a command: sent from the kernel in response to a userspace
+command. The payload is a series of three attributes of type:
+a) TASKSTATS_TYPE_AGGR_PID/TGID : attribute containing no payload but indicates
+a pid/tgid will be followed by some stats.
+b) TASKSTATS_TYPE_PID/TGID: attribute whose payload is the pid/tgid whose stats
+is being returned.
+c) TASKSTATS_TYPE_STATS: attribute with a struct taskstsats as payload. The
+same structure is used for both per-pid and per-tgid stats.
+3. New message sent by kernel whenever a task exits. The payload consists of a
+ series of attributes of the following type:
+a) TASKSTATS_TYPE_AGGR_PID: indicates next two attributes will be pid+stats
+b) TASKSTATS_TYPE_PID: contains exiting task's pid
+c) TASKSTATS_TYPE_STATS: contains the exiting task's per-pid stats
+d) TASKSTATS_TYPE_AGGR_TGID: indicates next two attributes will be tgid+stats
+e) TASKSTATS_TYPE_TGID: contains tgid of process to which task belongs
+f) TASKSTATS_TYPE_STATS: contains the per-tgid stats for exiting task's process
+per-tgid stats
+Taskstats provides per-process stats, in addition to per-task stats, since
+resource management is often done at a process granularity and aggregating task
+stats in userspace alone is inefficient and potentially inaccurate (due to lack
+of atomicity).
+However, maintaining per-process, in addition to per-task stats, within the
+kernel has space and time overheads. Hence the taskstats implementation
+dynamically sums up the per-task stats for each task belonging to a process
+whenever per-process stats are needed.
+Not maintaining per-tgid stats creates a problem when userspace is interested
+in getting these stats when the process dies i.e. the last thread of
+a process exits. It isn't possible to simply return some aggregated per-process
+statistic from the kernel.
+The approach taken by taskstats is to return the per-tgid stats *each* time
+a task exits, in addition to the per-pid stats for that task. Userspace can
+maintain task<->process mappings and use them to maintain the per-process stats
+in userspace, updating the aggregate appropriately as the tasks of a process
+Extending taskstats
+There are two ways to extend the taskstats interface to export more
+per-task/process stats as patches to collect them get added to the kernel
+in future:
+1. Adding more fields to the end of the existing struct taskstats. Backward
+ compatibility is ensured by the version number within the
+ structure. Userspace will use only the fields of the struct that correspond
+ to the version its using.
+2. Defining separate statistic structs and using the netlink attributes
+ interface to return them. Since userspace processes each netlink attribute
+ independently, it can always ignore attributes whose type it does not
+ understand (because it is using an older version of the interface).
+Choosing between 1. and 2. is a matter of trading off flexibility and
+overhead. If only a few fields need to be added, then 1. is the preferable
+path since the kernel and userspace don't need to incur the overhead of
+processing new netlink attributes. But if the new fields expand the existing
+struct too much, requiring disparate userspace accounting utilities to
+unnecessarily receive large structures whose fields are of no interest, then
+extending the attributes structure would be worthwhile.